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Honda Releases More Details On Their New 800cc MotoGP Contender

Honda’s Nicky Hayden just clinched the 2006 MotoGP World Championship yesterday, but it’s clear that HRC is already focusing on the 2007 season. A press release issued today contains a few details about their new 800cc V-4, designated the RC212V. Also included are first impressions from Dani Pedrosa (who has already tested the bike in public), and comments from HRC Managing Director Satoru Horiike and RC212V Large Project Leader Takanori Okuma. The complete text of the HRC press release follows:

The next generation of MotoGP machine is here in the shape of the Honda RC212V racing prototype. Built to conform to the new-for-2007 Grand Prix rules, the bike features an 800cc, V4 engine and a stunning all-new chassis built with mass centralization and ultimate handling in mind. Welcome to the future.

Basic Concept “Reading the rider’s mind”

Takanori Okuma, the Honda R&D RC212V Large Project Leader, explains the principles behind the RC212V:

“When we started development of the 800cc machine, effectively the ‘second generation’ of Honda MotoGP bike, we gave top priority to the pursuit of excellent handling and drivability. For the newly-reduced engine capacity of 800cc, we decided a V4 was the most efficient layout. Rather than focusing solely on top end power, we also concentrated on producing good power delivery characteristics, which can have a significant effect on lap times. Using enhanced control systems, the result is an engine with good drivability in the low and mid ranges, and excellent power under acceleration when the engine is at the top of its range.

“On the chassis side, we further enhanced the ‘mass concentration’ package developed for the RC211V to improve the agility and quick handling characteristics of the bike. The outward appearance is aggressive and appropriately innovative for a new generation of bike, affording both drivability and aerodynamic efficiency. We will continue to evolve the bike before the season opener and throughout next season.”

Technical Specifications

Overall length : 2050mm
Overall width : 645mm
Overall height : 1125mm
Wheelbase : 1440mm
Road clearance : 125mm
Weight (kg) : over 148kg
Engine type: liquid-cooled four-stroke DOHC 4 valve V-4
Displacement : 800cc
Maximum power : N/A
Frame type : twin-tube
Front Wheels (inch) : 16.5
Rear Wheels (inch) : 16.5
Front Suspension : Telescopic fork
Rear Suspension : New Unit Pro-link
Fuel tank capacity : 21 liter

Dani Pedrosa’s First Impressions of the RC212V

Following the Grand Prix of Japan at Motegi in September, Dani Pedrosa rode 30 laps on the RC212V prototype as the machine was revealed for the first time in public. Though the test was primarily for initial evaluation purposes, Pedrosa managed a highly respectable lap time of 1m 48.210s. Here he gives his thoughts on the bike he and newly-crowned World Champion Nicky Hayden will ride next year.

What are your first impressions of the RC212V prototype?

It’s a little bit difficult to make a good analysis of the bike because I’ve only had the possibility to ride a few laps. But my first impression is that the bike feels right which is very important when you check the first prototype. We didn’t work on the settings – only making some changes to the gearing – but it was clear that the package feels quite similar to the RC211V.

Can you assess the handling characteristics?

Definitely the bike is smaller, so for me it’s better because I can control the bike more easily. I could touch my knees with my elbows while sitting on the bike and that’s something I cannot do now with the RC211V. This is helpful when you ride a race bike.

What can you say about the power delivery?

The engine character feels a little different to the RC211V, but as I said it was just my first test and development is still going on so this feeling will continue to change. And also I didn’t push so much.

Is it easier to ride than the 990cc?

Yes, it seems easier to ride because some things about the bike feel smaller and the rear seat is much shorter which makes the whole bike look more compact. The bike has some characteristics which are a little more like a 250cc but it’s still a MotoGP bike. I don’t know if it will be faster in the corners because there are many hairpins in Motegi and the corner speed is very low.

Which characteristics do you find better than the 990cc?

For me, the dimensions. I’m not tall and this machine suits my size a little better than the 990cc. Even though the height and the weight are the same as the RC211V, the bike is smaller, more compact and this is good.

Satoru Horiike – Managing Director of HRC

“We are satisfied with the progress of the RC212V prototype. Under the leadership of Takanori Okuma, the project team has remained well on schedule with the development and testing program set by HRC. We are confident that winter testing will be positive and look forward to being competitive in this exciting new era for MotoGP.”